Team Meet & Greet: General Education English

Welcome to General Education English!

Take a moment to tell us about yourself, why you’re interested in this project, and get to know your fellow team members. We look forward to working with you on this exciting project.

Hello, I look forward to working with you all, and I hope to meet you all in person this year.

So it seems to me that we could go in 4 directions:

-101 text (academic writing)
-102 text (research writing)
-Combined 101 & 102 text
-175 text (intro to lit)

  1. Does anyone have preferences or pressing needs in terms of an OER or want to make a case for a particular course/direction?

  2. Maybe we can also brainstorm a wish list of things that we would like to see in a/the text.

I just wanted to help get the conversation started, so please chime in with your ideas! :smile:

Thanks, Amy

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Hi Amy, thanks for getting the conversation going. These are good questions to pose as you’re starting out — the second question is broad, while the first helps you all state the needs for your institution/region/course. The idea of a wishlist for the text reminds me that (OpenEd) week, we’re hosting an #OERWishList Twitter chat, so if you and others on your project team wanted, you could contribute to a list of OER that you’d like to see in English (or other disciplines).

It’s great that you’ve already identified 4 potential directions for your text! :smiley: It might also be helpful to start a list of existing OER in those 4 ‘directions,’ not just to identify gaps, but also to possibly adapt/remix when creating your own resource.

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Amy, I am so excited to work with you, and since my son Eric attends LCSC, I am hoping to find an excuse to come up and meet you in person. I see value to any of your proposed projects. As the dual credit coordinator for our English program, I am intrigued by the idea of an ENGL 175 text, and I think Joel already has some experience with creating a literature text. I would be able to help with finding student examples.

But my personal preference (though I will defer to others) is for a 102 text or a combined 101/102 text.

I think you mentioned that you had already worked on creating one–I would love to see what you have!

Best, Liza

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Hi Amy. I’ll offer a very quick response here, one that I intend to follow up later, but just enough to chime in before Wednesday:

My hope is for a First Year Writing experience textbook, one that covers most of the outcomes taught in English 101 and 102 in Idaho. I’d like this textbook to be somewhat minimalist, but comprehensive, something easily adaptable by adjuncts, dual credit teachers, and full time teachers alike.

I have a list of First Year Writing OER textbooks that have already been published (as you probably do as well), and discussing existing examples might help us talk about our needs in Idaho.

I assume we’ll follow up this chain with future, more in-depth goals, but this is a good starting point.


Hi Team (Sylvia, I’m glad you were able to finally get in!),
Here is the link to Dr. Lauren Connelly’s Google drive folder that houses our two textbooks we remixed from existing OERs: LCSC_OER_FYW - Google Drive

Let me know if that link doesn’t open for some reason–and save those pdfs because she will eventually boot us from access lol (over the summer we are starting the revision process).

Some context but first an admission: These are both HUGE, especially the 101 entitled Because You Have Something to Say. We were not trying to be minimalist. The four of us approached the project from a teacher/mentoring perspective, keeping in mind the order of the four writing modes (narrative, expository, analysis, argument). As we talked with colleagues, however, we discovered the variety of ways in which each mode could be effectively taught with the same outcomes achieved. Therefore, we wanted to include all of the ways in which our full-time, adjunct, and dual-credit teachers could teach each mode. For example, the narrative can be taught as a personal narrative, literacy narrative, or narrative interview. The expository umbrella has a TON of options as well. The point was to give new teachers and experienced ones a lot of choice and then clearly just use the sections and pages relevant to those modes and sub-types that interested them most.

Of interest might be just the very first introductory pages for each, which list the existing OERs we pulled from as well as the Table of Contents. For the 101, I know we pulled a lot from EmpoWord because one of our committee members said that it is one that is used by IDLA, and it contains some great activities. We know that most teachers supplement with their own learning activities, and in this case, we were really focused on trying to help adjuncts/new hires/dual-credit teachers (and their students) who may not have a lot of these non-literature based activities on hand.

For the 102 text entitled Say It Well, we pulled heavily from Steven Krause’s The Process of Research Writing and remixed his text in a way that made more sense for us. While each of us co-editors teaches research writing a bit differently, we collectively agreed that we generally follow this process pedagogically speaking: thinking about research, finding sources, analyzing data, writing, and publishing, so that’s the way in which we set up the chapters.

We originally set out to do a 101/102 combined text, and we determined that for our needs, we would not be able to do that just then. Again, these two texts are highly individual to LCSC and the surrounding regions we serve. While we functioned from a localized perspective, we kept the big picture in mind (GELOs, State mandates, accessibility, etc.) although we know that these may not work for other institutions.

Sorry for the long message. I’m excited to see what texts you all have created or used so that we can begin the process of remixing or filling the gaps or creating new texts.

Amy :smiley:

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Amy, this is a great place to start! Thank you so much for sharing! I actually really like the school-specific information (this could be tailored to fit each institution) because it is so focused on student success and providing resources.
The student essay models and instructor feedback were also very helpful.
For 102, I really like teaching They Say/I Say because I am a big fan of template writing. Have you see this textbook before?


Also, here’s a link to the course reader I developed for my ENGL 101 class. I think I am probably skirting the limits of fair use with this, but I found all of these sources available for free on the web and assembled them into the reader. My own instructors used to do this kind of thing. We had to buy the course readers at Kinkos back in the day :).!AmnKygtb3oizzzVrcwrcGQQeMsYP?e=CJtvCY

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Hi Liza,
I have heard of it but haven’t used it…I really like templates, too, so I will check this out. I love the reader you created–so much good stuff in there! There’s lots of variety and works engaging to students!

Thank you for sharing!!! :smile:

Liza, your mention of the They Say/I Say book reminds me of a conversation in the CCCOER listserv about open alternatives to it. Amy Hofer (@hofera) did a roundup of the resources shared in the thread:

Take a look at the full thread on the listserv too — maybe there are some folks there who might be interested in following/participating in this project.


Thank you, Apurva, I’m so loving the academic phrasebank mentioned as one of the links! This would be really helpful to my English 102 students. Much appreciated!


I took note when Joel mentioned a FYW Experience textbook on Wednesday. What do you all think of “First Year Writing Experience” as an updated project name?

I and other faculty at Boise State have pulled from a variety of sources (including some that Apurva mentioned):

Also, here is a copy of a running list of resources and license types that BSU’s FYW program has been compiling:


This sounds great! Thanks, Jonathan and Joel!

Hi English team, a few things. First, here’s an open course reader that was recently published: 88 Open Essays

Favorite textbook examples and resources: I wanted to follow up on these textbook options to keep the ball rolling in the direction of textbook design/contents. Personally, I’m a fan of Open Oregon Writes (OOW) and EmpoWord (EW), from Jonathan’s list; and, as Amy mentioned, Lewis-Clark’s open writing textbook is largely based on EW. I also really love the high-quality chapters included in Writing Spaces. I use some of these chapters in my own English 101 courses, e.g., Stedman’s chapter, “Annoying Ways People Use Sources.” They’re very well-written and many of my students say they prefer learning about certain techniques through reading those chapters rather than traditional lesson material.

Design: I like how OOW is scaffolded, especially the first half or so. It seems like a natural progression and designed for a wide variety of writing backgrounds and needs. EW has more content and rich examples for the different rhetorical modes, but lacks some of the basic introduction to academic writing that OOW has. I’m curious about how others respond to those textbooks in particular. We can draw from our own experience here. How do you teach, e.g., persuasive writing vs. reflective writing in your classes? My persuasive unit is fairly traditional and could easily rely on any one of these textbooks. My reflective essay unit, however, is mixed genre, involving rhetorical analysis and reflection.

Joining the Conversation is one of the most popular writing textbooks at CWI (for instructors who use a textbook), so part of what I’m looking for is an open version of that textbook. It’s sufficient for both English 101 and 102. It seems like a combination of some things in OOW and EW (and Lewis-Clark’s adaptation) would get us there. I’m not suggesting we should focus on those OER examples; it’s just an early observation.

The other non-OER textbook that’s massively popular at CWI is They Say/I Say. Like others, I love their approach to using they say/I say strategies for writing persuasive and research-based essays. Perhaps we could figure out a way to use some of those strategies, while giving them credit.

Course Reader? I’m curious to get your thoughts on Course Readers and/or student sample essays. Liza showed her excellent course reader, and it seems like a smart way to go–having a reader supplement for the textbook. I notice, however, that EW does not go this route. EW throws everything together, kind of like Joining the Conversation. So this would be something to talk about as well: Should we have a somewhat barebones textbook, scaffolded along the lines of OOW, but then supplemented with a comprehensive Course Reader?

Keep in mind that Pressbooks makes it easy to compile all of this stuff. EW is intimidating because of the pdf format. The .html Pressbooks version of the same book would be so much easier to navigate.

Update:: The BYU link Jonathan linked to above is one of the highest quality lists I’ve seen for OER writing materials, especially for a course reader. I’ll have to dig into that link more. I notice that it includes material from Writing Spaces, which I really like.

Here are all of the links I mention:

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I like it, and after our Saturday call, I am really excited to see the work that Sylvia has already done. She indicated that she took a comprehensive first-year writing approach.

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Thanks for sharing this! I think that a collection of student models would be really great–it gives students the chance to be published. I personally think that something like my course reader should be chosen by each instructor. We could use it as a model, but I think it’s important for instructors to choose readings that speak to them. Does this make sense?

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Awesome rundown, Joel, of what seem like the top OERs out there along with preferences! Thank you! :innocent:

I personally like the ease of the drop down menus with Pressbooks. However, one of our issues up north here is accessibility. We have a number of students who live in more rural places like Orofino…on the sides of mountains…or in wooded areas, where Internet is not readily available. Thus a pdf (though more unwieldy) can be saved and opened without Internet later. We also have a number of students who come from low-income households who do not have access/or have limited access to the Internet (patchy service). Some are only able to get on the Internet when they come to campus.

I haven’t used Pressbooks on my phone, but is it mobile-friendly? I think that’s another thing to consider since a lot of students (to my dismay) do EVERYTHING on their phone (including writing papers–eek!), but it’s a thing and is not going away. So it helps if OERs are mobile-friendly, especially if students are using their phones as their only source of Internet access.

Thank you for including links to everything!

Much appreciated,

Amy :smile:

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Jonathan can weigh in here, but accessibility is a strength of Pressbooks. Try this Open Oregon Writes link on your phone:

It’s very mobile-friendly. In addition, all Pressbooks can be exported in all formats, including PDFs.


I just tried it…awesome, worked perfectly!!! Thank you!